Tour de Jean sans Peur ou Hôtel d’Artois
20 rue Etienne Marcel
Metro Etienne Marcel № 4.
Jean Fearless, Duke of Burgundy, representative of the younger branch of the ruling dynasty of Valois, went down in history primarily as a rebel, the enemy of the king and the organizer of the murder of the Duke of Orleans. The name Burgundy comes from the ancient people of Burgundians or Burgundians, who lived in the places where the French province of the same name is now located and to the east of it. The possessions were really huge. The grandfather of both dukes was French King Jean II Good of the ruling dynasty of Valois. You see, even the name was the same. However, the closest family ties did not prevent people from hating and destroying each other in the struggle for power at any convenient opportunity. So it was, is and unfortunately will be.
Why did the palace have the second name Artois? It was built in the 13th century by the Counts of Artois, the descendants of Robert Artois, the brother of Louis the Saint. In the XIV century, the houses of Artois and Bourgogne became related as a result of a dynastic marriage.
We are moving to Paris at the very beginning of the XV century. The boundaries of the city are the walls built by Charles V forty years ago. But the walls of Philip Augustus are still standing. They are gradually dismantled for the construction of other buildings. The possessions of the Burgundian Duke in Paris correspond to the territory that lies between the modern streets of Saint-Denis, Montorgueil, Etienne-Marcel and Pavée-Saint-Sauveur (today Tiquetonne). It was from this street and there was a central entrance. The events that interest us take place during the hundred-year war, Burgundy supports the House of Plantagenets, that is, the English, and not the Capet. The reigning dynasty of Valois is the successor of the direct Capetas. Remember the trilogy “The Damned Kings”. Despite the interwoven love story, the true story of the end of the dynasty is true, in this Druon can be trusted. The British believe that they have the full right to own France, on the maternal side. And according to the French laws only the heir of the male has the right to do so. The daughter of Philip IV the Beautiful Isabel was the mother of the English King Edward II. Because of this controversial heritage, the Hundred Years War itself was played out.
After the murder of his cousin the Duke of Orleans in 1407, Jean escapes from the city, but the following year he returns and strengthens his mansion in the manner of the fortress. In 1409-1411 he built a tower to his palace, from which there is an exit to the fortress wall of Philip Augustus. One of the towers of the wall is also included in the complex of increased protection. The tower of Jean Besstrashnoy is a rare monument of the Parisian Middle Ages, it is the fourth in the list regarding the time of construction. Now she is leaning against the city school instead of the demolished palace. On the second floor there is a mock-up that recreates how all the buildings were located.
Afraid of betrayal and murder, the duke pushes the house with tricks that confuse the adversary – for example, the room of the most approximate servant is removed in the same way as the master’s. A pointed roof is not yet there, but there is a flat platform with prongs that protect the arrow with a crossbow, as well as machiculi through which you can water the besiegers with boiling oil and throw stones at them. The width of the tower is only 4.5 meters and the length is 10. The tower is 27 meters high and consists of five floors. At the bottom of the so-called “salle des gardes”, a room in which there is a guard around the clock, weapons are also stored here. That is, crossing the threshold, an unwanted guest immediately runs the risk of turning into Swiss cheese. The next two floors also have one room. On the second floor you can see the symbols of the duke – two planers and the building level, which hint that all the obstacles that Orleans will arrange will be cut and leveled. It must be added that the Duke of Orleans had the symbol of a baggy pack. From the same room through a narrow passage you can penetrate inside the tower of the fortress wall. The third floor is well lit and blocked by a gothic vault and served, according to some, as a chapel. This is a floor with high lancet windows, which are now not glazed. Over the “chapel” is the room of the servant-squire. And already at the very top is the “chambers” of the duke himself. The spiral staircase, connecting the floors, is covered with a vault, intertwined vegetable pattern, a masterpiece of Gothic sculpture. This sculpture is unique, we will return to it in more detail.
The staircase takes up so much space that it is believed that the tower was built only for her, and not for habitation. And indeed, at each site – doors, doors …
Another staircase leading to the last two floors is narrower and more uncomfortable. It can be accessed from the floor, where the previous large staircase ends, that under the arch. The entrance to this part of the staircase is blocked by a lattice (which is no longer there). The door leading to the duke’s room – with a low lintel, so that you can not break in without bending in half. In addition, before the door was originally another grille. The very first sanitary convenience in Paris is also located here. What is interesting is that now toilets, not rooms, look out onto the street. But in the XV century, they looked at the fortress wall.
The murder of the Duke of Orleans provoked a thirty-year civil war (as if not a hundred years with the British), the so-called war of the Burgundians and Armagnacs. Who are the Burgundians, we already know, and who are Armagnacs? After the aforementioned murder, the defenders of the ruling regime, headed by Bernard d’Armagnac, rallied against the Burgundian house. The coalition included the heir of the murdered Karl (the future king, and for now the Duke of Orleans), Louis I of Bourbon-Vendome (the ancestor of Henry IV, King of France, the first of the Bourbon branch), Guillaume II, Viscount Narbonne and Arno Guillaume Barbazansky. Both the Burgundians and armagnacs are French. And as a result of this discord on the French throne for several years sat an Englishman.
All precautions did not save the duke and he did not die an old man in his bed. He was killed in 1419 by armagnacs on the bridge at the confluence of the Seine and Yona. This was the moment of negotiations between the Duke and the Dauphin Karl. One more digression. What does the word Dauphin mean? The first prince of blood and heir to the French crown had at his disposal the province Dauphiné (Dauphiné). For comparison, the heir to the English crown is owned by Wales. Burgundy completely sided with the British in the war. And three generations later, the Burgundian crown did not have a male heir.
Under Henry III (the last of the Valois dynasty), the Spanish ambassador, Diego de Mendoza, who was an enlightened man, poet and historian, lived in the tower. He insisted that the house not be demolished, although he was already in a deplorable state. It is to him that we are indebted that this unique representative of feudal, both military and civil architecture, has survived to the present day. During the Ossmann works the tower was freed from later layers, the city bought it in 1874 and put it on the lists of historical monuments.
Now the tower, which has become a museum, can be visited both individually and in a group. I was amazed at the detailed elaboration of the interior items. For example, on the washstand, the coat of arms of Jean Besstrashnoy from mahogany (it’s a toilet, a strictly intimate place, but no …) is very thinly carved. I have not paid attention, this washbasin since those times or new. The stained-glass windows were made in 2007. Very interesting bench, the back of which is thrown to the other side. Thus, without moving the bench itself, you can warm yourself by the fireplace or conduct a conversation, turning into the room. And what huge fireplaces in comparison with the area of the room. Yes, they did not know the Russian stove with a mirror, which holds heat for a long time, it literally flies to the pipe from the French.
Climbing the stairs, you can see the walled doorways that led to the main chambers of the palace. That is, from the tower, if, of course, the duke really was hiding in it, you could slip off on each floor while the guard downstairs protects the staircase. I personally had the impression that the tower was carrying a pure fake function, and not a lair. Who knows?
Another interesting detail – on many stones embossed symbols – letters, crosses, asterisks … Perhaps these are stonemasons. Of course, it is necessary to exclude the contemporary creativity of the bezdarey, who themselves did not create anything worthwhile, but spoiled what has already survived for five hundred years.
And now you can take a closer look at the layout. There is no city wall and palace now. Although in the basement there is a part of the wall and a tiny door leading into the round tower of the fortress wall. As I explained, this door served to access the cesspool. By the way, if you dig in each cellar along the perimeter, you can completely restore the ring of Philip Augustus. The first two floors of the tower of Jean Besstrashnoy with low ceilings, above them a high hall-the alleged chapel and above, as it was said before, the room first of the servant and the last floor under the roof – the duke. At the junction of the tower and the palace you can see a staircase that ends with a sculptural tree, and the second staircase leading to the last floors is only guessed, since it is inside the building and its axis does not coincide with the first.
And now consider the famous tree. The trunk around which the staircase winds, and the large branches are the oak tree – the strength and power of the Burgundian house and the symbol of the father of Jean Duke Philip the Bold. You can distinguish between acorns and characteristic leaves with a wavy edge. From the walls to the center and the oak stretch the branches of the hawthorn – it is the symbol of the mother of Jean Margarita of Flanders. The hawthorn has three-fingered leaves and round berries. Around the branches of oak and hawthorn hops grow. It is the symbol of Jean Fearless himself, the son of Philip and Marguerite. You can learn drunken cones and large five-fingered leaves.
To be honest, I was so interested in the history of the Burgundian dukes that I want to dig deeper. Interesting were the characters – bold, stubborn, not capable of training, at any time ready for a riot.